Everyone knows the tale of the BMW 507, BMW’s sexy little roadster of the 1950s that took the jet set by storm, to the point that even the King himself owned one. It was a design and legacy that always firmed itself into the history of our favorite Bavarian brand, with only a few concepts from the company holding that much history and interest. So, it was only natural that BMW would try to copy that success later on in life, and what better time to do it than the retro-obsessed 2000s?
Enter the Z8.
Designed in the early 1990s by a design team led by future BMW head designer Chris Bangle and Henrik Fisker (yes, that Henrik Fisker), the Z8 took a huge amount of cues from the 507, including the coke-bottle shape, obvious rear-wheel drive platform featuring the tried and true long hood, short rear formation, and various details from the long horizontal kidney grilles in the front and chrome vents on the side. It was first showcased in 1997 with the Z07 concept, and later put on production as the Z8 in late 1999, with interest peaked by its ill-fated appearance in the James Bond film The World is not Enough.
BMW fans around the world were taken aback by the gorgeous styling of the Z8, which was a radical departure in comparison with other models the brand had been producing at the time. The company only ever intended for the Z8 to be a collectors’ item, aiming to only build a few thousand models (around 5700 were built in total by the model’s end in 2003), but the company kept stocks of the unique parts of the car (such as the neon tail lights) in case replacements were needed.
As mentioned before, the Z8 was a rear-wheel drive platform with a drivetrain derived from the E39-chassis BMW M5 of the time. This meant it got its power from the robust S62 V8, pushing 400 bhp to the rear wheels through a glorious 6-speed manual transmission. No Z8s from the factory were fitted with automatic transmissions, it was only when tuning house Alpina got their hands on the Z8 and outfitted it with the 540i’s 5-speed automatic gearbox.
History lesson over, now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I owned about two Z8 models back in the day, both from Maisto, one being a silver James Bond edition and the other being a regular red model. I loved them both dearly, and so I sought out another one to add to my new collection, going for the much more handsome blue color.
I believe this was a wise purchase, because the Z8 holds such an elegant presence no matter what scale its in. Having seen Z8s up close and in person, I have to say this model does the car a great justice, and even with it having those little niggles that make a Maisto a Maisto, it still holds its own as a great piece in the collection.
The BMW Z8 was a gorgeous car that was greatly ahead of its time in many areas, and this model is no different. If you’re looking for a legendary BMW model to add to your collection for a good price, look no further.